Sunday, April 6, 2014

Traveling with History: Road Trip through New Hampshire

By Jeff Burns

            In the summer of 2012, my wife and I decided to do a road trip through Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.  The plan was into fly into Burlington, Vermont, rent a car, and just go wherever the roads took us.  It was a wonderful trip even though New England was in the midst of a heat wave, with highs reaching the mid-80s.  As Georgians, it was absolutely refreshing even though the New Englanders were sweltering.
            We noticed an immediate difference between Vermont and New Hampshire as we crossed the state line.  New Hampshire seemed a lot more commercial with sprawling shopping centers and less of a regard for zoning regulations.  Nevertheless, we still found lots of interesting places to see.

            Augustus Saint-Gaudens is one of America’s greatest sculptors, our Rodin.  His works include the Robert Gould Memorial and the design of the famous 1907 $20 gold piece, often called the most beautiful American coin ever minted.  His home, studio, and garden are part of a beautiful National Park service site near Cornish, New Hampshire. 


            At Canterbury, you can immerse yourself in Shaker life.  Canterbury was one of the many New England settlements founded by the followers of Mother Ann Lee, who touted a life of simplicity and celibacy as the way to salvation.  It was occupied by Shakers until the 1960s.  The village is perfectly preserved and thoroughly tells their story.  We learned so much.


            Portsmouth is a picturesque waterfront town with one of the most unique museums in the country, Strawbery Banke. Visitors to Strawbery Banke have the opportunity to experience and imagine how people lived and worked in this typical American neighborhood through nearly four centuries of history. Using restored houses, featured exhibits, historic landscapes and gardens, and interpretive programs, Strawbery Banke tells the stories of the many generations who settled in this Portsmouth, New Hampshire "Puddle Dock" community from the late l7th to the mid-20th century.  Most houses have docents or re-enactors who bring the history to life.


            Overall, New Hampshire was a great trip!

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